Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Blair named Scotland skipper

Mike Blair was named as captain as Scotland coach Andy Robinson announced his team for Saturday's opening autumn international against New Zealand on Saturday.

With Alastair Kellock injured, Glasgow's Richie Gray came into the second row for his first start and Edinburgh scrum-half Blair took over the captaincy in five changes to the starting XV from Scotland's last Test five months ago, the 13-9 win over Argentina in June.

Blair assumes the number nine jersey from Rory Lawson, who will start on the bench, with wing Rory Lamont, prop Euan Murray and number eight Richie Vernon also set to feature in the starting line-up.

Kellock was captain in Scotland's 2-0 Test series win over Argentina but was not considered for the All Blacks encounter due to injury. His place is taken by Gray, who has made three substitute appearances, and, like his Glasgow team-mate Vernon, will make his first start.

Murray, preferred at tight-head prop to Moray Low, and Rory Lamont - selected on the opposite wing to brother Sean - return after missing the Argentina series with ankle and knee injuries, respectively, while Nathan Hines was named on the bench after being excused from the summer tour while on compassionate leave.

Chris Paterson, Scotland's most-capped player and record points-scorer with 752 points, was available again following a kidney injury suffered against Wales in the RBS 6 Nations in February, but did not make the final squad of 22 from the 33-man training group.

Glasgow fly-half Ruaridh Jackson was named on the bench and could make his debut, while Edinburgh flanker Ross Rennie has recovered from knee problems and is in contention to add to the one cap he has won to date - against Ireland in 2008.

Scotland team: H Southwell (Stade Francais); R Lamont (Toulon), M Evans (Glasgow Warriors), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Scarlets); D Parks (Cardiff Blues), M Blair (Edinburgh); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), E Murray (Northampton), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors) J Hamilton (Gloucester), K Brown (Saracens), R Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors).

Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester), A Dickinson (Gloucester), N Hines (Leinster), R Rennie (Edinburgh), R Lawson (Gloucester), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), N Walker (Ospreys).


From Belfast Telegraph